St Francis Q&A

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

God is so good and creative

LIVE CONCERT this Friday!! Jim and Michele Cowan will perform a live concert during Eucharistic Adoration on Fri, Oct 10, 7 pm. Come join us in the Church as we worship our Lord with the help of the musical talents of this father and daughter!
Here are three questions from bloggers:

1) “Fr, I understand that the readings for today were about fraternal correction, that we should go to the people who have harmed us multiple times on different levels and only cut them off if they are obstinate in their sin and harm, what do we do when they repent? Even if it is after we have cut them off or to quote the readings today 'treat them as we would a gentile'?”

It’s hard to say categorically without knowing the situation. But, I would assume from what you’ve written that you’ve learned of their repentance after you’d approached them and they were obstinate in their sin. I would first ask how you came to find out that they have repented? Did they come to you and finally show true repentance? If so, then you should accept them and reconcile with them. If you found out about their repentance some other way, then you should forgive them from your heart (if you hadn’t already) and try to make it known somehow that you are open to reconciling with them. When they approach you to reconcile, again you should accept them and reconcile with them. As God rewards our true repentance with reconciliation, so we should reward others with reconciliation, no matter how long it takes for them to be truly repentant.

2)“Hi um, Fr. Greg.. my question isn’t related to your topic but I was wondering, I can’t find a place to do confession where I am right now and I'll be here for an entire year, I don’t speak the language, how do I receive communion again if I can’t go to confession, is there a way to receive communion even if I don’t go to confession??”

First, I assume you know that it is only when we are conscious of having committed a grave sin that we need to go to Confession before receiving Holy Communion. Second, if that is the case, then I would suggest asking all over the place if anyone knows where you can find a priest who speaks at least some English. I would find it hard to believe that there is no priest like that anywhere near you. You might even try to go to Confession with your local priest; he might know enough English to absolve you.

I have heard a few confessions in languages that I didn’t know too well; somehow, I was able to discern, more or less, the state of their person’s soul and offer absolution. If there is no way to communicate with that priest or any priest and you need absolution before receiving Communion, then you will have to wait to receive until you find an English-speaking priest for Confession. But, give it a try with a local priest. God is so good and creative, He will surprise you. I am confident He will provide what you are looking for.

3) “Why speak in tongues?”

I’m not an active member of any charismatic group, so I’m not the best authority when it comes to speaking in tongues, but I do know that the Catholic Church began with an event (Pentecost) which involved the speaking of tongues (by the Apostles). The Holy Spirit is the giver of speaking in tongues, and at Pentecost, the Spirit came upon the Apostles as “tongues of fire”. The Apostles then spoke in “tongues”. But, Acts 2 makes it clear that “tongues” refers to languages. The Apostles were speaking to the Jews who had gathered from different lands in different languages - “in (the Jews’) own tongues”.

So, at the core of this, there is legitimacy and value to speaking in tongues; after all, it is a gift of the Holy Spirit! The confusion comes in when it occurs without proper interpretation. My guess is that when it’s an authentic gift of the Spirit, speaking in tongues is able to be interpreted. It is also my understanding that, like Pentecost, speaking in tongues is more about speaking in languages that are able to be understood than anything else.

To read more about this gift, please go to:


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